Arroyo Colorado has hidden dangers

MERCEDES — Spending time at the waterfall has been a pastime for many locals for decades.

It’s the area where Gregorio Ramirez, 31, died attempting to save his wife and daughter from drowning during a family outing outdoors this weekend.

While that appears to be the only fatality in that area in more than 10 years, there is a factor of danger according to Jaime Flores, Arroyo Colorado Water-shed Coordinator.

He might not have realized the force of the flow of the water or he could have cut his leg under the water, where there is a lot of debris, Flores said.

“In many bodies of water, especially the Arroyo Colorado, you might not see on the surface the velocity of the water or the depth of the water,” Flores said. “It can be misleading when you look at it from the surface of the water because it’s much different when you’re inside the water.”

Ramirez drowned in an area known to locals as the waterfall, but it’s actually a spillway where there is a canal going underneath the arroyo connecting the canal on the north and the south.

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The Arroyo can have hidden dangers

How big is the Arroyo Colorado?

– It is approximately 706 square miles (1,828 square kilometers) or 451,840 acres (182,853 hectares).

– It is approximately 90 miles long.

– Average range of width is 40 to 200 feet.

– Average depth range: can be as shallow as 2 feet or as deep as 13 feet.